Escaping Pleasantville: 4 Ways to Break Your Comfort Zone

Thanks to two strangers, a predictably boring world become a more colourful story with a satisfying climax. This is the summary of Pleasantville (1998) and is a classic film reminding us to break our comfort zone.

The movie stars Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon, two kids living in the real world who are magically transported into the TV world of Pleasantville, an idyllic 1950s black and white community.

At first, Maguire and Witherspoon attempt to “fit in” to maintain the harmony within the community. But it doesn’t take long until the vibrant Witherspoon starts acting like her real-world self and literally starts to add colour to Pleasantville.

The moment characters began to behave contrary to what they were used to was when they started to change and realize their true colours.

Pleasantville remained pleasant because nobody went beyond the status quo. Nobody went outside their comfort zone. In doing so, they failed to grow or change. But they were content.

But personal growth and true change can only take place outside of the comfort zone.

What is the Comfort Zone?

Jordan Bauer

It is our own personal Pleasantville – a psychological place where we are in total control. We are steady, relaxed, if not a little too content.

"Where our uncertainty, scarcity and vulnerability are minimized—where we believe we'll have access to enough love, food, talent, time, admiration. Where we feel we have some control." – Brene Brown, Ph.D.

Most of us who don’t live in poverty settle into a nice comfort zone at some point in our lives. Maybe it’s after getting a decent job and making enough to pay off the bills. Maybe it’s when we find a partner and build a relationship together.

It looks different for everyone, but it exists to a degree. And it’s almost inevitable especially since most people are peaceful and don’t want to cause a stir.

The best part about the comfort zone is the beginning: right when you hit the sweet spot. You feel relaxed. Life is good. You could live like this forever.

But ultimately, that sweet deal soon turns sour the longer it goes. Most of us aren’t built to live a monotonous life. We aren’t meant to just stay within ourselves.

It reminded me so much of an old friend from work.

What My Friend Turtle Taught Me About Comfort Zones

Turtle was the nicest person I met: sweet, considerate, and overly polite but also terribly afraid to leave his shell – his comfort zone, hence his nickname.

He was an extreme rule follower and was afraid something bad would happen if we did anything out of the ordinary. And yet he adored Pleasantville maybe because he aspired to its message.

A part of me looked at Turtle sympathetically because I saw myself in him if I were to ever sink too far into a comfort zone.

I prided myself as spontaneous and adventurous. Yet I was falling into a nice comfort zone: doing just enough work to get by and falling into predictable habits.

I’ve had so many great ideas about what to do with life. I’m so inspired but when it comes to walking the talk, I’m MIA.

Dreaming up new scenarios is so easy anyone can do it. But I was too afraid and too unmotivated because of how comfortable I’ve become.

How pleasant my life has become? I loved my Pleasantville and I saw no reason to change it.

But try as I might, my Pleasantville couldn’t continue.

I needed to grow because it’s what is natural. You don’t fit in the same clothes you wore in kindergarten, high school, or even five years ago.

Change doesn’t need to be drastic. You don’t need to quit your day job (although I did) or go on a pilgrimage in South America.

Just take time to listen to yourself. When doing the same old just isn’t fun anymore, it’s time to change.

Here are a few small ways you can slowly break out of the monotony of your comfort zone.

Do Something New Every Day

We’re not talking about anything drastic here. You don’t need to suddenly start helping the homeless or volunteering in your community. These are ideal but not all of us have the heart to do it. At least, not yet.

Take baby steps. Do something small.

Here are examples of small everyday things you can do or change:

  • Order something different when you go out for lunch
  • Take another route going home
  • Change the time you go to bed or wake up
  • Listen to something different
  • Change your workout routine

There is a reason we all fall into a daily routine.

It’s more efficient and requires less thinking. In fact, it's necessary for the survival of our species.

As a remote worker, I still fall into daily habits like waking up around 10, going to the gym, and going to bed after midnight. And it’s tough to break this habit and I can imagine it’s even tougher for people who work a 9-5 job.

But doing something different every day will help break this cycle and “recalibrate” your thinking.

You might even discover new benefits to the new things you do. You might discover a new restaurant taking a different route home or you may get a more effective workout with a different routine.

Keep switching things up and reap the small benefits.

Do Something You Don’t Like

We get stuck in comfort zones for a good reason: it’s nice, safe, and easy in it.

But staying in it is like being a couch potato in life. At one point, you’ll have to get up and do something else.

One of the easiest ways to find something you don’t like is to look for things you have put off doing for the longest time.

You can easily find minor things lying around. Things you were supposed to do but didn’t.

  • Why don't you like going on camera?
  • Were you supposed to clean the washroom?
  • Why haven’t you done your taxes yet?
  • Did you promise a friend you’d read their manuscript?
  • Why haven’t you tuned up your bicycle?

You can do these things. You don’t need any special training. You’ve put them off because they’re annoying or difficult and you don’t want to do them.

But keep an open mind and just do them. You may even end up liking them. And on top of it all, you might learn a thing or two.

Breaking comfort zones is about doing something uncomfortable after all.

Learn a New Language

This can be a bit challenging especially if you’ve spent most of your life used to only English but it’s never too late to try.

Studies have suggested that our brains’ chemistry shift depending on the languages we speak. People who speak more than two languages can learn faster and are more open-minded.

There are so many benefits to learning a new language and hardly any cons. The only real obstacle is its difficulty but that is only more incentive to try: to get out of your comfort zone.

Start small. You don’t need to sign up for Spanish immersion classes overseas. There are many free apps you can download like Duolingo or Babbel to help you learn the basics.

Watch TV shows or online programs where they speak the language. Find children’s books and read them. Go frequent local places where people speak the language and listen in.

If you have friends who speak the language, ask them to help you.

Set goals and track your progress.

But be careful and specify on what type of language you want to learn. The language varies depending on where it is spoken. French in France is quite different than French in Quebec, for example.

Once you’re confident you’ve learned enough, then look to signing up for classes or overseas trips. Now, this is taking a huge step towards breaking your comfort zone.

Start Writing a Journal by Hand

You can use a laptop too or any other device but try writing by hand for the full benefits.

Writing on a journal by hand is said to stimulate the brain and inspire creativity.

It is also a good place to track all your latest activities and can be a good reference point. Make notes of new habits you’ve started, new activities you’ve done, and ways you’ve broken out of your habits.

Try writing about just the new things you’ve been doing. It only makes sense. It’s a journal not so much a daily report.

Journaling may also help you stick in your journey of slowly reinventing your life. Keep at it and look back to it occasionally, to see how much you’ve changed and how far you’ve come from your comfort zones.

Ending Relationships: When and Why You Should Burn Bridges

They say, “don’t burn bridges.” But some relationships are better ended. Understanding when and why to burn a bridge is not the only key to your well-being but fulfilling your potential.

Cutting off people is one of the most difficult things to do. Saying “no” is already hard enough especially for me (this article may help).

I have repeatedly run into the wrong crowd because I did not have the gumption to just turn them down. Likewise, I ended up in bad relationships that left me with nothing but painful lessons.

Most recently, I met an amazing person through the Tinder dating app. We had fun that night and I asked for her number and we continued to text.

She wanted me to visit her before she left for overseas and I was unsure mainly because I did not want to start anything that I knew would have to be cut eventually. I was already in that situation before.

The tension reached a boiling point when I made a scathing tweet about a lady at a gym and she blew up on me.

It came out of nowhere, but I interpreted this as her venting due to her disappointment with my fickleness.

I enjoyed the few moments we spent but this was an example of a bridge that needed to be burned.

The Three Questions Everyone Needs to Ask Before Burning Bridges

My short-lived relationship with my Tinder encounter isn’t exactly the typical type of relationship that needed ending. It’s a bit more complex sometimes and is almost like cutting off your ex-flames.

I usually ask myself three questions to determine if my relationship with someone is worth keeping:

  • Do we make each other happy?

  • Do we help each other grow?

  • Does spending time together lead to something beneficial for both of you?

If the answer is “yes” to all three, this is the type of relationship that shouldn’t just be kept but cherished. Keep strengthening it. Fight for it. These are the friends we need.

If the answer is “yes” to two of the three, the relationship is worth keeping but also needs work. There are likely areas that are stagnating between the friendship. With a little work, we can make each other even better.

If the answer is “yes” to one of three, the relationship is stagnating. Spending time with these “friends” may start incurring just as many costs as benefits. I might be getting tired or missing the point of why we even hang out. These relationships need plenty of work or they will fall to the next category.

If the answer is “yes” to NONE, then this is the relationship that needs to be cut. Pronto.

This is the bridge that gets burned. Hell, in some cases, the bridge needs to be bombed. Obliterated.

Breaking it down this way makes it seem easy to determine which friends are worth keeping and which aren’t. But often I just go on living my life and being an ENFP, I have a high tolerance for people’s bullsh*t.

This list helps me determine who to spend time with and who to start avoiding.

Ex-flames tend to be wild cards because there are a lot of personal feelings that skew the questions. That is the one exception here.

But with everyone else, these questions must be asked.

As I get older, my tolerance for crap gets lower. And I assume it’s the same for almost everyone.

The closer we get to our inevitable demise, the more valuable our time becomes. That’s why it’s best to get rid of “friends” and people whose relationships may only be hurting more than helping.

If you have people in your network and they only cover one of the questions, they could fall into one of the following categories of people.

Enablers & Bad Influencers

These are friends who make us happy but don’t help us grow and spending time with them doesn’t always lead to anything beneficial outside cheap thrills.

Popular examples of these types of people are drinking and smoking friends or any friend you hang out with mainly because of a vice or a trivial activity.

While they aren’t necessarily bad people, spending too much time with them can be counterproductive and won’t lead to much growth or positive outcomes.

Why You Should Burn the Bridge: because most of the time you spend with these “friends” is spent on vices, the friendship will lack any real value. Continuously hanging out with them will also worsen bad habits and be detrimental to your overall health.

How to Grow the Relationship: find other things to do with them outside of boozing or doing drugs, if possible; you may already have other things in common like a hobby. Start here and develop a relationship that goes beyond simple vices.

Secret Manipulators & Fake Friends

These types of “friends” are difficult to. Hanging out with these people may lead to something beneficial on the surface but isn’t helping you grow and you don’t feel that deep sense of happiness.

People who fit this category may be secretly using you for their own ends. If you have “friends” who you don’t know on a personal level despite how long you’ve been together, that is a red flag.

They aren’t completely fake because they like something about you whether it’s your status or wealth or abilities. But the moment you lose that which they want, they will disappear.

These people may be “social climbers” or people who ride on others’ coattails. They are likely not new at this game. They will make themselves useful, so it will be hard for you dispose of them.

Maybe they’ll offer their own services or introduce you to other people. They will offer something back in return.

Why You Should Burn the Bridge: because these people care more about themselves than they do about you. The moment things go sour, they are likely to vanish. They are the type to love you when times are going well but ignore you once it isn’t. You deserve better treatment than this.

How to Grow the Relationship: this is a difficult relationship to grow because it comes from something superficial; maybe these people don’t really care about you and are just using you. But if they have some shred of decency within them, you may be able to appeal to their human side.

Get to know them personally. Make sure they open up to you and share their own vulnerabilities and personal stories. Once you learn this part, you may develop a genuine relationship.

Controllers and Judgers.

These friends are the ones who you don’t always get along with, but feel is still out for your best interest.

We all have that friend who thinks they know what’s best for us. They can’t help it.

Maybe they see you as a little sibling and constantly undermine you. They make decisions for you, ignore your ideas, and always judge you and your choices.

These friends are invaluable because they are the most likely to give us different viewpoints and challenge our lifestyle. They can also do what’s best for us when we don’t know it.

They are opposite to the fake friends and enablers because they care about you (even if they aren’t fully aware of it). What can make a relationship with them troublesome is the stress they bring.

Why You Should Burn the Bridge: because they kill the joy out of everything. They don’t respect you and continuing the relationship will be bad for your self-esteem and mental health.

How to Grow the Relationship: stand your ground and assert yourself but do it without appearing too belligerent. Have faith that these friends really do care about you but need to be shown the way. Find out what they need help with and help them. The sooner they can see you as an equal, the better.

Toxic People: Burn these Bridges ASAP

Now for the people in your life who don’t make you happy, don’t help you grow, and don’t lead to anything beneficial, cut them out immediately.

While none of us wants to be that friend who abandons a friend, it’s unhealthy for both parties if you continued.

There are many types of people like this but the most obnoxious is the Negative Nigel/Nancy. They are constantly critical, angry, and are the biggest buzz-kills.

If you are forced to deal with them (because of work or unavoidable circumstances), there are strategies for that. But if you don't, cut them out.

Just a few days earlier, a Facebook friend and former co-worker unfriended me because I told him off on my page.

This guy was the prototypical “Angry Atheist” and a complete Nazi towards religion. He only shows up, coincidentally, when I make a post about religion.

It could be something light-hearted like an interesting tidbit about Bible history.

In comes Angry Atheist shutting it down essentially saying “why bother talking about it? It’s religion. It shouldn’t exist. Don’t encourage discussions about make believe sh*t.”

And get this: he accuses me of being close-minded and not wanting to talk with people who have opposing views.

I enjoy listening to other people’s views unless they are shouting it in my face  or they have already made up their mind and are just listening so they can say something back.

Do not bother reasoning with these types of people. You’ll have better luck achieving world peace.

It is never easy to end relationships, but it is necessary.

Doing so not only frees you from people who hold you back but also allows you to spend more time with the people who help you become better.

Four Life Lessons Learned from Covering Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

There’s nothing quite like the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) and in my three years covering the sport, I picked up a few life lessons.

For those who don’t know what that is, think UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), Georges St-Pierre and Ronda Rousey. Ring a bell now?

By definition, mixed martial arts is a full-contact combat sport that combines different forms of martial arts from wrestling to boxing to Muay Thai to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and many more.

I covered MMA for about three years. Despite not being a full-time “journalist”, I saw my fair share of fights, met media members and spoken to a couple of MMA fighters and personalities. I’ve learned quite a lot not just from the sport but lessons that are transferrable with regular life.

Unfortunately, my future was away from the sport, but I look back time-to-time with fond memories and valuable lessons it’s time to think back and reflect on the many lessons I learned from this sport.

In theory, the idea of watching two adults physically assault each other for money and entertainment seems like an ostentatious way to gain “wisdom”, but you learn a lot especially on business, human psychology, and how us savages treat each other.

Here are five life lessons I picked up from the covering the sport:

Our Instincts are in Constant Conflict

No sport makes you question your character more than MMA.

This highly entertaining sport delivers unbridled exhilaration driven by the literal blood, sweat, and tears of horrendously underpaid athletes making you feel like a junkie sh*thead for supporting such “violence”!

But at the same time, this is still a sport. It evolves every week. We’ve gone from utter savages swinging meat hammers senselessly to the most intricate martial artists playing a game of human chess. The sport’s superstars range from well-spoken role models like St-Pierre to vivacious hooligans like Conor McGregor.

The "Notorious" Conor McGregor at a press conference

I use the term “instinct” because it’s something that is innate in us. In combat, the “fight versus flight instinct” is eternally present and fighters who master the art of choosing the right instinct prevail.

As a spectator, our instinct to seek pleasure can and will conflict with our instinct to feel sympathy for others. These are feelings that just happen. And as an MMA fan, you will be dealing with these all the time.

The Highs are the Highest and the Lows are the Lowest

In MMA, almost every fight is high-stakes.

Winners have looked like a million bucks while losers have broken down. Consider the sharp contrast between the careers of two superstars: McGregor and Rousey.

McGregor won all but one of his UFC fights and became the sport’s most lucrative fighter even managing to get the second-most expensive boxing match against Floyd Mayweather. He became the sport’s biggest star and a worldwide icon.

His loss humbled him, and he went dark for an entire season. But his subsequent wins propelled him to the stratosphere.

The fame and success got to his head and he transitioned from being a comical character who razed press conferences at the expense of every poor fighter there to throwing dollies at buses and getting arrested.

Rousey won all but two of her UFC fights, but those two losses permanently scarred her. She quit the UFC after consecutive knockout losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes.

She went from the most intimidating female fighter, a juggernaut, and a destroyer to a seemingly weak-minded sore loser who can’t even muster the poise to face questions about her losses.

Ronda Rousey at an interview

Winning and losing has never been more polarizing than in MMA. A fighter’s profession, reputation, and mental state are all drastically affected by the outcome more so than any other sport.

The winners not only get extra cash, they also move on with their careers and get the admiration of fans (for the most part). While the losers take a step back and face the jeers of all the “keyboard warriors”.

Seeing as most MMA fighters are barely just getting by in life, a win or loss affects their careers a lot more significantly than a lost game for a sports team.

If you factor in their pride, months of hard work and physical damage, the elation of a victory juxtaposed with the misery of a loss speaks volumes.

The Mind Beats the Heart

This is the most painful lesson I’ve learned: the cold calculating individual usually succeeds more than the passionate yet emotional person.

I’m not suggesting that either trait are absent from each side. The former isn’t an automaton and the latter isn’t a dummy either. But, individuals who approach life with a more technical approach tend to accomplish things more successfully than one who is fueled by passion and emotion.

In MMA, this is obvious when the most dominant champions like St-Pierre and Jon Jones destroyed the opposition thanks to their cerebral and exacting approach.

In fiction we often see the protagonist overcome the obstacle with the sheer force of will. And while that may happen in MMA, it’s mostly the efficient fighter who prevails in the end.

It is rooted to the fundamentals of martial arts.

Emotion won’t drive you because it is less controllable, and it can hinder you. And most importantly, it is a finite resource.

People don’t stay happy constantly. They don’t stay angry all the time. It’s not physically possible.

Instead, rely on the power of the mind: the ability to control thoughts when it matters most.

Memories Don’t Last Because Life Moves Too Fast

It’s like being in a bullet train speeding through everything. All you can make out are glimpses of what appear to be shapes and colours. You can’t really make out what they are.

MMA is a fast-moving sport. It’s the perfect sport for some short attention span millennials.

There is an event every weekend almost from the big promotions.

UFC fighter Yoshiyuki Yoshida kicks his opponent, Josh Koscheck, during the UFC's Fight for the Troops event held at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C. Kosheck won the match by knocking out Yoshida 30 seconds into the first round. More than 9,000 Fort Bragg troops attended the charity event which benefitted veterans.

The UFC almost held more events in the last five years than they have for the first 20 years. It’s great to have so many events but it comes at the expense of leaving lasting memories.

A significant event lasts 24 hours if it’s big enough but it quickly gets buried or shoved to the backseat in favour of the next coming event.

This is terrible for the sport’s marketing. Even the most hardcore fans have such a short window to fully let an event sink in and truly comprehend how much it means.

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Sometimes I get caught up in just doing, doing, doing, and the next thing I know five years have gone by. Where did the time go?

It’s why I make more of an effort to “slow things down” a bit and enjoy life a little bit more. What is the rush? What am I racing towards?

I want to make the most out of my life but is it worth not enjoying what is going on because I have to move on to the next thing?

It’s why a lot of movements like minimalism re-popularized by the likes of Joshua Becker are gaining steam.

Less action, more examination could mean better life satisfaction the same way fewer fights in a calendar year would make fight fans appreciate each event more.

Four Lessons Learned From Stephen King’s On Writing

Nothing heals a writer like a good book and I’m still shaking my head on why it took me so long to pick up and read Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of Craft (2000). I’m a slow reader but I read through this in one sitting and picked up some key lessons.

Who is Stephen King and Why is He a Big Deal?

I wasn’t a big Stephen King fan. I knew about him and some of my favourite movies are based on his stories.

For one, I’m afraid of horror stories and I wasn’t an avid reader of his type of fiction. Then I read this book.

Stephen King is one of the most prolific authors today. Skimming through his Wikipedia page, King has written 54 novels and 200 short stories and has won countless awards I won’t even bother listing.

King from 2011

Among King’s most famous stories are The Shining (1977), It (1986), and the Dark Tower series (1982 onwards).

King is mostly known for his horror stories. Described as the “King of Horror”, most of King’s stories have become feature-length films and several of his characters have grown to become pop culture phenomena: Pennywise from It and Jack Torrance from The Shining just to name a few.

Although many of his best works mixed genres like The Stand (1978) being a post-apocalyptic fantasy and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (1982) being crime fiction.

King wrote a lot and wrote well. It’s already an accomplishment to finish one novel and an even bigger one to have it published so imagine King pumping two novels within a year.

He’s in the Mount Rushmore of all-time great modern-day authors so it seems obvious any advice he’d impart about the craft would be worth learning.

On Writing: Five Key Lessons

This is one of the best and easiest books to read and I highly recommend reading through the whole thing even if the writing advice isn’t until the middle portions of the book.

Reading about King’s humble beginnings, how he got started as a writer all the way to his accident and him writing the book will add much-needed context to his advice.

King manages to give both practical and inspirational advice and it flows naturally in his book. It reads like a conversation, which is a testament to the mastery of his writing voice.

If you’re a writer, you must buy this book and keep it close to you always along with Strunk’s The Elements of Style (which King referenced a lot in his book).

These two books should be read and re-read as often as possible.

The biggest takeaways from King are not revolutionary or mind-blowing.

They are simple yet profound.

Read. A Lot.

Sometimes the most obvious advice is the one taken for granted. It only makes sense for writers to be avid readers.

But King isn’t just referring to any kind of reading. He’s talking about books. These objects made of dead trees usually ignored in libraries or used as decorations or prop sets.

King isn’t just talking about good books but bad ones.

Writers can learn a lot from a good book but it’s the bad books that teach more. ~ Stephen King

This wisdom can be applied to other forms of media like movies.

I had a film teacher show us bad movies then quiz us on all the things the movie did wrong and what could have been done to fix it.

Read voraciously.

Read almost everything you can get your hands on.

King even goes as far as advising to ignore social norms like not reading while eating. He advises reading whenever possible.

Life is much more hectic for most people today. Writers are writing, working a full-time job, a side gig, and taking care of their families.

It’s tough to find time to read but like writers make time for writing, they should make time for reading.

In fact, even some of the brightest and most influential people who aren’t writers like Elon Musk and Warren Buffet spend a great deal of time reading.

Reading either fiction or non-fiction is a good source for inspiration and ideas. It is therapeutic and is a welcome escape from our reality where everything is “go, go, go!”

It’s also a great tool to…

Keep Sharpening Your Writing Skills.

There is a section in the book that discusses all the essential skills for writers. These are but not limited to:

  • Grammar (includes spelling)
  • Vocabulary
  • Editing
  • Proofreading
  • Reading

Writers need to constantly work on their craft and that is only achievable by… writing!

Much like how athletes or skilled tradesmen constantly hone their skills until they “master” them, so should writers.

Reading is a must to help hone grammar and vocabulary. Listening to podcasts, attending poetry slams and going to writer hangouts are also good ways to get embedded with other wordsmiths.

Editing and proofreading are two skills that seem taken for granted these days especially with tools like Grammarly and Microsoft Word’s spellcheck, which do half of the job.

Then the online publishing culture also puts the focus is on speed, quantity, and meeting deadlines.

There are also editors who tend to do the “cleaning up” for most writers.

It should be a writer’s habit to proofread then edit their works.

Go the extra step by having a friend proofread or read out loud what you wrote. Mistakes and parts that sound wonky will quickly be noticed making it easier to edit.

And as short and sweet advice goes: “the second draft is the first minus 10%” per King’s own writing.

Writing Schools Don’t Work.

King didn’t explicitly state that going to writing schools are a waste of time nor did he suggest they have no use. But many of writers have paid for writing courses as the added incentive to finish their manuscripts.

This sounds like a desperate ploy for writers to coerce themselves into completing their work since they paid money for it.

Chances are, most writing courses tend to look and sound the same. I’ve been to a few myself.

It usually involves an instructor with some degree of writing credibility, a few students mostly wannabe authors and maybe a few published looking to network, and yourself.

The main thing to writing courses is the added accountability. You are given assignments and deadlines. You’re basically giving yourself an editor/boss of sorts: someone who will be checking up on your progress.

But if you’re looking for revolutionary insights or career-breaking advice you won’t find online or through other free workshops, you’ll be hard-pressed.

Plenty of the advice I received I already either knew about or read about online. I met a few friends, gained a few contacts, and made progress on my manuscripts.

But I also paid around $500 for an eight-week course and this was over five years ago so that’s probably around $600 these days. It wasn’t a waste of money, but had I been smarter, I could have signed up for cheaper alternatives online.

You can use writing schools to network and make a dent in your manuscript. Maybe you’ll learn a thing or two. Networking is a significant part of becoming an author.

Just be wary of how much you’re paying and weigh that with what you expect to receive.

Write about the Truth.

Write because you love it and because you have something beautiful to share with the world.

Don’t write because you want a paycheque, or you want to impress people. Ignore the naysayers and don’t pay attention to trends or “what sells”.

The moment you begin to look too much outside for “writing advice” is the moment you lose your voice.

Yes, it is vital to listen to others to improve your craft.

But these should mostly be about the technical aspects like how you structure your arguments or grammatical corrections.

Ultimately, you only have your truth: your personal principles, beliefs, and views. This is what makes every writer unique. This is what gives you your voice.

It can be a long and difficult process to find a writing voice.

I’m still struggling to find mine. Writing in many different genres can also complicate things further.

But whenever I feel lost, I always go back to what got me started as a writer.

I wanted to tell stories. I look back to the video games, movies, and books that captivated me as a child and I want to impart to others the same wonder I felt.

In every writer is purity that needs to be shared with the world.

It doesn’t matter how “saturated” genres are or how many books get published in a day or how many countless writers there are.

We always need storytellers and writers are in the forefront even in an era dominated by video.

On Writing: Rekindling the Magic of Writing

As a writer, the process can be so tiring. Pumping out 2,000 words a day at a minimum can be draining. I find it impossible to sit in front of a laptop during some days.

I’m thankful for having read this book because it reenergized me and helped me enjoy writing again. I’ve gained a new perspective on writing and no longer feel it is a huge chore.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s almost 20 years old to the date but the wisdom King imparts is timeless. It’s easy to read, it’s inspirational, and it’s practical. It must be on every writer’s bookshelf.

Thank you, Stephen King!